Premier’s powerhouses suddenly chasing Foxes
EVERYONE is looking at the top of the English Premier League at Christmas and wondering how Leicester City is at the head of the pile.
The Foxes are the first team in EPL history to be bottom of the league on Christmas Day one season, and be top of the ladder the next.
While Claudio Ranieri's men have had a remarkable campaign so far, it has also been quite a year for the teams promoted from the Championship.
This time last season Leicester looked favourites to go down with fellow promoted sides QPR and Burnley.
If that had happened it would have only been the second time, with Barnsley, Bolton and Crystal Palace all returning to the Championship after just one season in the top flight in 1997-98.
Only two times - in 2011-12 and 2001-02 - have all three promoted teams avoided the drop, while only seven of the last 21 promoted sides have been relegated.
That remarkable record looks set to continue this season with Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich surprising most with their performances.
Just like Leicester, no one expected Watford to be in the top half of the EPL.
But the Hornets have been superb under Spanish manager Quique Sanchez Flores.
Troy Deeney has led the line superbly, but it is the captain's striker partner Odion Ighalo who has stolen the limelight.
The Nigerian has banged in 12 goals in 17 EPL games, including two in the surprise 3-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.
Watford has now got 28 points, a record number in its EPL history and at this stage looks favourite of the three promoted sides to stay up.
The Hornets have had a reasonably easy first half of the season, but with only 12 points needed to reach what is regarded as the safety level (40 points), look to have done enough.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, under 38-year-old Eddie Howe has also been a surprise packet.
A lot of experts were predicting the Cherries to struggle, especially after losing prolific goalscorer Callum Wilson to a long-term knee injury.
But after a difficult start, Bournemouth has been one of the form teams, drawing 3-3 with Everton before beating Chelsea, Manchester United and West Brom.
Injuries to key men including Junior Stanislas and Josh King could hurt the team's chances.
The same goes for Norwich City.
The Canaries have had the worst of it of all the promoted teams and sit just above the relegation zone, but last week's win at Old Trafford against Manchester United shows they have a lot of fight in them.
Alex Neil at 34 is a young manager with little experience, but his side seems to have the spirit to stay up.
All three promoted teams look capable of avoiding the drop at this stage, but in this incredibly topsy-turvy season where Chelsea is in more danger of being relegated than defending its title, anything could happen.
And that's why the EPL is the best league in the world.